2 more deaths, 34 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C.
VANCOUVER -- Two more people in British Columbia have died from COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths from the novel coronavirus in the province up to 50.
Another 34 test-positive cases were also recorded, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 1,370.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced the new numbers at their daily briefing on the virus Thursday.
A total of 132 people are hospitalized with the novel coronavirus in B.C., and of those patients, 68 are in critical care. On a more positive note, 858 COVID-19 patients are now considered to be fully recovered.
Henry said there are no new care homes dealing with outbreaks, and one facility's outbreak has been declared over. There are 20 long-term care facilities that continue to deal with cases of COVID-19. A previously announced order that ensures workers at long-term care facilities only work at one location is now in effect, Henry said.
"It is, in my mind, vital to preventing further transmission and protecting our elders," she said.
She continued to urge people to stay at home over the long weekend, reminding people "we are not over the hump yet."
"Now is not the time for travel unless it's absolutely necessary and you need to take care of your family," Henry said.
Henry recommended other ways of enjoying the long weekend, which included sitting in the sun and reading a book, going for a walk, reaching out to your elderly neighbours, or hosting a cooking show online.
"It's also OK to go for a bike ride or go for a walk in the sun but keep your distance," she said. "We all need kindness, and we all need connection. But let's do that at home this weekend."
Dix said he's confident in the measures being implemented at the border, and B.C. and Alberta have issued a joint statement discouraging residents from travelling between provinces.
"This is the time to be as virtually as possible, to be with the ones in our own homes that we care for and we live with," he said, reminding people that this is the time to dig in and not bend the rules.
"I think this is an important weekend for all of us. Whether you want to go to Sechelt for a trip, this is not the time. If you want to go to a fishing cabin, this is not the time," he said. "This is the time to be 100 per cent all in for one another, for the ones that we love, and for the ones that we don't know."
Dix also said the province will be getting more personal protective equipment from a variety of vendors, including some from China. The province has also received donations of PPE, including 100,000 surgical masks, 83,000 N95 masks, 10,000 goggles, and 20,000 gloves. He emphasized that all PPE that comes into B.C. is thoroughly tested and inspected before it reaches frontline health-care workers.
"That is critical for us, that employees can have confidence in the equipment they are being provided, and we have seen in other jurisdictions what can happen when that's not the case," he said.
The majority of cases continue to be in the Lower Mainland with 626 confirmed cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 508 in Fraser Health.
In other parts of the province, there are 130 cases in the Interior Health region, 82 in the Island Health region, and 24 cases in the Northern Health region.